Monday, July 21, 2014

Owning it

Hello friends! I haven't blogged since January. I'm not even sure I know how to do this anymore. But I'm back, and I'm ready to own it.

Here's the thing---I stopped blogging because it's time consuming and I felt like I could reach an audience in other ways. And it's true, I can. I did. In my time off I've successfully garnered a few teen fans who even made up a fandom name for me. (The Sunbaers. Look up the Korean word Sunbae and it might make sense.)

When it comes to platform building (i.e. the entire reason I started this blog) I think I found the best method. You know what it takes to have an awesome fanbase? You have to write great stories.

So why am I blogging when blogging no longer suits my platform building needs? Focus.

Yep, I'm owning up to it. Ever since I've stopped blogging I've lacked the focus I need to drive me toward my publishing dream. So I'm back, for selfish reasons. I'm here to find my focus again.

Guess what? I'm a writer. I understand things better if I write them down. If I really want to reach my goals, I have to blog about my journey or I lose sight of my purpose.

A Writer's Journey, I find that theme haunting me time and again. It's time I came back to the path.

Here's what's up with me right now. I've made a few decisions that may or may not be good choices in the long run, but I need to put them on paper or I'll never know how they'll work out.

1. I'm writing a fantasy novel right now. It's a novel I've already tried (and failed) to write two other times, but now I feel like the plot is going to be solid. I also made another choice to go along with this, which brings me to point two --

2. I'm writing the entire series before I query the first book. I can't tell you how many times I've told people to not do the very thing I'm planning on doing. So why am I breaking my own rule?

a.) If I leave characters I have a hard time going back to them. The choice to write all three novels at once will make my story stronger.

b.) Should there ever come a point when I decide to self publish I'll have everything ready to go and I'll be able to publish fast.

It's not the choice for everyone, but it's the best choice for me.

3. I'm going to publish my romance novels under a different name -- Jennie Bennett. Not right now. I'm not ready, but I'm thinking if I get an agent, maybe we can work both angles. Maybe if I get an agent with my fantasy novel, I'll just self publish my romance novels. Either way, I'm going to have two brands from this point forward. I intended J. A. Bennett to be a fantasy name from the start, so I'm sticking to it.

I can't tell you how good it feels to write this all down and put it out there. I'm already finding my focus and drive coming back to me. Thank you to everyone who's shared this journey with me so far. I can only hope for more good things to come.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Double the Awesome! Two Cover Reveals - Angie Sando, Jenny Morris, & Kelley Lynn

Welcome friends to another amazing Wednesday! I'm so blessed to have an abundant amount of friends who are being published like crazy! Because of this I have three awesome, awesome people who are doing cover reveals on two books. How cool is that?? I'm really, really excited for both books so I hope you'll read about both.

In fact, I wrote a cute thing about sisters below (my sister in particular) so hang tight for that.

Without further ado, behold the awesome -

I love this cover so much!! Angie, you're amazing!


DARK PARADISE
Angie Sandro
July 1, 2014
Grand Central Publishing/ Forever Yours


BOOK BLURB:


DARK LEGACY

Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of “witch women,” she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She’s haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.

DEADLY SECRETS

Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he starts to wonder if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister’s killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.


GIVEAWAY:

Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



ANGIE SANDRO:

Bio:


Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen.

Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story.

Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador


Author Links:






PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Paradise-Angie-Sandro/dp/1455554820/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389711940&sr=1-1

***

For Jenny and Kelley, they're doing a little blog hop about siblings.

My siblings are awesome! I have four brothers and one sister. I'm third in line of six kids. My youngest sister just turned 19 yesterday (Happy Birthday Lindsay!!)

Since Jenny and Kelley's book is about sisters road tripping, I thought I'd share a little story about my sister.  When she was born, I was 11. Can I just tell you, being the only girl among four boys is not fun. When I heard my mom was pregnant I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, that it would be a girl. And it was!! I was so excited, I told everyone I couldn't wait to have a sister.

Well, it didn't take long for the glamor of it all to wear off. I soon figured out me and my sister would never exchange clothes, like the same boys, or talk about the same bands (I swear, Lindsay, I'll get you to like Kpop someday!) We shared a room and fought worse than cats and dogs. But now... Lindsay is my favorite sister!! ;) Seriously, I love my sissy. She's coming to visit me tomorrow and I'm so excited! I promise to post a picture of us together on facebook. We'll be cool ones so you'll know how to pick us out.

So there you have it, sisters are the best :) 

Moving on-- Here's Jenny and Kelley's pretty cover! 

I'm so excited for this book, and I love you girls!!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 13, 2014

Adding a Table of Contents to Your Kindle Ebook

Hey guys! Welcome to another beautiful Monday! It's been seventy degrees for the past couple of days in Texas and I've been loving it.

So today I wanted to talk about setting up a TOC for your Kindle ebook. It's fairly simple. It takes a bit of time, but worth it when it comes to self-publishing.

I only know how to do this in Microsoft word, so if you use another platform I can't help you.


Step 1: Highlight the first section you want in TOC. (i.e. Title page, or the first chapter.)



Step 2: Whatever's highlighted should be changed to a heading. This can be found on the 'home' tab in word.


Step 3: Adjust the formatting. Once you click that heading button it's going to change the font, size, and everything, so make sure you change it back to how you want it.

Step 4: Repeat. You'll want to do this with all the chapter headings until you've selected them all. If you have sub headings, you can also highlight them and choose heading 2. That will automatically add them as a sub heading to your TOC.

Step 5: Insert the TOC. Go to whatever page you plan to have your table of contents, open the "references" tab, click the little arrow under "Table of Contents" then choose the style of table you want. You can format the fonts after the table has been inserted.

If you missed a chapter, all you have to do is highlight it, change it to a heading, then go back to your TOC and update it. Like so --


That's it! It's not too bad. This only works on Kindle though, maybe I'll show you how to do B&N some other time. That's even easier than kindle. Happy publishing!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: 2014 Goals

It's been so fun seeing everyone's goals! I've been saving mine for IWSG, becasue it probably the thing I'm most insecure about.

Today's IWSG is hosted, as always, by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh! Give him a round of applause folks.



So I decided today that it would best to put ALL of my goals for 2014. Not just writing related ones, but there will be plenty of writing ones too :)

Goals for me:

1. Try everyday not to binge eat. This isn't just about losing weight, I seriously have an issue. I just want to eat healthy and feel good.

2. Don't be afraid to try new things. I've been working at living this for a long time, but I'm still a scaredy pants when it comes to new stuff. I did move to a new state though, so that was a huge win! But that's the end of new things :)

3. Focus on my religion. This is also an ongoing goal for the rest of my life. It's not enough to say I believe in God. I sincerely and truly want to live my beliefs 

Goals for my Family:

1. Listen to my husband/children. Because I'm scaredy cat, I often shut down and try to take myself out of the moments when my husband and kids really need me. I KNOW I'm not going to perfect at this, but I think if I strive for it daily then I'll see a marked improvement in my life. This is also my only goal for my family. If I can master this, then everything else will fall into place.

Goals for my writing:

1. Write and revise three books this year. Last year I was able to write three books, but revision was another matter. Eventually, whenever I sell a book or make the decision to self publish, I want to be publishing three books a year. So this year is going to be a trial run. Honestly, I want to pee my pants thinking about it. But it's all part of the "trying new things" goal.

2. Visit ten blogs M-F. I haven't even come close to this once in the past year, and I don't think it's so crazy that I can't do it. I mean, there will be some days when it just won't happen (Christmas anyone?) but it's another one of those things that I'm just going to get up the next day and try again.

3. Don't give up. Believe it or not, this is something I know I'll struggle with too. I probably won't get an agent this year (again) I probably won't be able to figure out how to fix one of my books (again) I will probably hate writing and everything associated with it a few times in the coming year (again). So it's best to just put it out there now. One of my goals is to not give up.

That's it, I feel like I poured all of my insecurities out. I don't think there's anything you guys don't know about me :)


Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Blogger Blogs Should Switch to Google +

Yep, I said it. And with good reason. I was hesitant to switch too, but it was worth it!

Here's the thing, Google wants people to use Google + so they're making it harder to use old blogger methods. Honestly though, I don't mind. Change is a good thing.

What I do mind is that even though I'm enjoying using Google + not everyone wants to make the switch. It's so much harder for me to find blogs this way. I'm not saying you should switch for that reason alone, but it doesn't hurt visibility.

Anyway, here's the top three reasons to change your Blogger blog to Google +

1. Visibility - I know I said this above, but there's more to it. Google + pages are ranked higher than other social media outlets. If you switch over, you can have your posts automatically publish to your + homepage and therefore draw more readers to your blog.

Plus, bloggers who use Google + go there often to visit other blogs. That makes the chances of your post being seen more likely.

2. It fits today's fast paced world -There's been a lot of talk about how blogging is a dying art form and how tweets and short Facebook posts trump longer articles. Switching to Google + actually helps with that.

Because it's more like Facebook, people can view the beginning of your post, give it a plus one and not feel obligated to come read the whole thing. They're still seeing you, and maybe if they see you enough, they'll come read. Plus one's are fantastic because it keeps sharing which gives you even more visibility. Don't take that opportunity for granted.

3. It connects bloggers in a way they've never been connected before - Yes there have been awesome comment apps like Disqus that allow you to reply to your readers and interact, but Google + takes it to a whole new level. When you connect your blog to Google + and someone leaves a comment, they have the opportunity to share that comment with everyone that follows them on Google + (again, visibility).

Even more than that, when you reply to your commenters they notice it sooner, and it's a lot easier to start a conversation rather than it being one comment and one reply. Isn't blogging about getting people talking anyway? Well Google + is great way to do that.

***

Any questions about Google +? Those of you who use it, why did you switch? Those of you who don't, what's holding you back?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hello Out There!!

Hey everyone! Happy New Year!! It seems like a lot of people are getting back into the swing of blogging, and I missed you all!



So... what did you do to ring in the New Year? I watched a movie and went to bed at 11:45. That's how exciting my life is.

Anyone have good news? Books finished, exciting ideas, agent deals? I just feel like I've been out of the writing blog loop. So please, update me on your life. I sincerely want to know!

P. S. I had an awesome giveaway on my blog the other day and Donna K Weaver won. Congrats Donna!! Look at all the pretty she's getting --



Hope everyone is having a fantastic 2014 :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Giveaway!!

It's almost Christmas, and one of the best parts of Christmas
is giving gifts! Rachel Schieffelbein had the genius idea to get together some of her favorite writers (and critique partners)
to do an awesome give away! (Thanks Rachel!)

One winner will get a bundle of a bunch of amazing ebooks!

The bundle will include an ecopy of
  and
Secondary Characters, by Rachel Schieffelbein
Unexpectedly You, Riley Janes and Mia Josephs
 Fraction of Stone, by Kelley Lynn
and (perfect for the holidays!) The Spirit of Christmas!

which includes short stories by Me, Jessica Salyer, Kelley Lynn,
and more!


a Rafflecopter giveaway